Sixty-two people from 18 countries took part in the 2021 Antarctic Ice Marathon, the southernmost marathon on Earth.
The race takes place at Union Glacier, Antarctica, near the Ellsworth Mountains and just a few hundred miles from the South Pole.
A massive storm hit the race location on the date the race was originally scheduled, making it impossible for competitors to fly from Chile. But after a few days of delay, the race got underway on December 17th, three days later than scheduled.
The athletes were greeted by bright sunshine and the constant daylight that occurs at this time of year. The temperature dipped to -15C at the coldest point of the race.
Despite the trying underfoot conditions of soft snow, a new record was set in the women’s marathon by 30-year-old Evija Reine of Latvia. The student doctor’s time of 4:06:11 hrs eclipsed the existing event record of 4:20:02 hrs set by Great Britain’s Fiona Oakes in 2013. The USA’s Grace Yao took second place with Great Britain’s Julia Hunter in third.
In a closely fought battle, Polish endurance athlete Grzegorz Bogunia claimed the men’s title in a time of 3:53:02 hrs, just over a minute ahead Julien Cazorla of France. Derk Cullinan (USA) was third.
Among the competitors was British explorer Lou Rudd, who had coincidently arrived at Union Glacier on the day of the race having traversed several hundred miles across the continent. The oldest competitor was 74-year-old Pini Haroz (USA / ISR) who completed the course in 8:26:42 hrs. Jordan Wylie, a former soldier and star of ‘Hunted’ and ‘Celebrity Hunted’ completed the race despite a severe achilles injury.
It was the sixteenth edition of the Antarctic Ice Marathon and eleven of the athletes joined the 7 Continents Marathon Club, having completing a marathon on all seven continents at the conclusion of the event.
The next Antarctic Ice Marathon is scheduled for 14th December 2022.